DENVER (AP) – Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting early Monday, his limousine sprayed with bullets in downtown Denver.
Team spokesman Jim Saccomano said police called him about 3 a.m. from the scene and told him three people had been shot, and the 24-year-old Williams had been killed. The killing came hours after the Broncos were eliminated from the playoff race.
A little after 2 a.m., a white Hummer limousine was fired on from a vehicle that pulled up along its side, police spokesman Sonny Jackson said. There were at least eight bullet holes in the limo.
Three people in the limo were hit and were taken to hospitals, where one man was pronounced dead, Jackson said. The other man and woman who were shot were not identified.
Jackson said police were searching for suspects and interviewing witnesses.
“We have no motive yet,” Jackson said. “We’re hoping to talk with witnesses to find out where they were coming from, and that might give us some clues.”
Saccomano said he spoke with coach Mike Shanahan and others in the organization. Hours earlier, the Broncos lost to San Francisco 26-23 in overtime.
“Complete shock. We’re speechless. It takes words away. A terrible tragedy,” Saccomano said.
Pro Bowl player Champ Bailey was among the players and team staff members who gathered at Denver Health Medical Center, where Williams’ body was taken.
“He had a big heart and a lot of courage,” said Cedric Smith, assistant strength and conditioning coach. “It’s a tragedy, a complete tragedy. It’s sickening.”
Williams teamed with Bailey to give Denver one of the top cornerback tandems in the NFL. Williams finished the season with 88 tackles, 78 of them solo, and four interceptions.
Players and coaches are off Monday. They were scheduled to meet Tuesday before heading home for the offseason.
On Sunday against the 49ers, Williams had three tackles and returned two punts for 50 yards before leaving the game with a shoulder injury late in the second half. After the game he said he was planning to wait a few weeks before determining if he needed an operation.
In December, Williams spoke of his desire to return to his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, this offseason to talk to kids about staying out of gangs.
Williams, a second-round draft pick out of Oklahoma State in 2005, made an immediate impact on the Broncos. He started nine times in his rookie season following a stellar college career.
AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.